Adventure’s Guide to Paddlesports August 27, 2020

jennys paddleboard

Minnesota has a lot of lakes. We know that. And while I’ve always loved water, it really wasn’t until this weird Summer of COVID that I realized just how many amazing lakes are right here in/near the city. I’ve spent the summer exploring them with my SUP (stand up paddleboard – although I mostly sit down). I find the nice thing about paddleboards is the ease of getting on and off to swim in the middle of the lake. Oh, and you can lay on them if you just need to float. Or talk to your paddleboarding girlfriends for four hours. Lots of places to rent them, too. Explore Adventure’s Guide to Paddlesports on how to get started, where to go (and more), below.

– Jenny, Associate Creative Director & Copywriter

canoes in a rack


  • Find a guided kayak class at one of these locations: Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Three Rivers Park District, Paddle Bridge, Wahoo! Adventures, Wilderness Inquiry, REI Outdoor School, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

“Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe.”

Henry David Thoreau


  • Warner Lake County Park: “Just outside of St. Cloud, this is a great paddleboarding spot because the lake has no motor access, so only self-powered craft. There’s also a large stockpile of carp that you can see from your board.”
    Brad, Sr. Production Designer
  • “Cedar Lake in Stearns County is a nice, clean lake with easy in/out for kayaking. And for $5 you can pull up to the Cedar Lake Campground Beach and hang out for the day and use their facilities.”
    Paula, Project Manager
  • Brownie Lake is the smallest and northernmost link in the Chain of Lakes in the Twin Cities. It’s another lake that is off limits to motorized watercraft, but available to canoes and kayaks, with a great launch and canoe storage.”
    John, Strategist
  • “There is a public landing on the south side of Lake Alexander, which is a designated State Natural Area. Quiet, calm. Perfect for parking your car and getting out on the water.”
    Abby, Associate Creative Director
  • “Although not in MN… if you head to River Falls, WI, the Kinnickinnic River is an eight-mile stretch that takes about 3 hours to paddle. It’s not too fast and super shallow the whole way, so you can literally just step out at any time into a few feet of water and be fine!”
    – Sarah, Senior Designer


  • Women’s Wilderness Discovery: “For an incredibly reasonable per-day price, you are fully outfitted with all trail gear, gourmet meals, snacks and beverages, US Forest Service permit reservation and user fees, and your professional female guide, a seasoned veteran and teacher at heart.”
  • Back to Indigenous Futures: A U of M project helping to gain a greater understanding of Indigenous canoeing traditions via a virtual reality simulator.
  • Looking for an accessible park for paddling? Three Rivers Park District in Plymouth, MN has a great guide with information about accessible/adaptive equipment rentals.
  • Creating Ability is a MN-based company making adaptive paddling gear to enable people of all abilities to participate in the sport of adaptive kayaking


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Paula in a kayak